After 18 months he had to return home because his father was no longer able to pay him an allowance. “Having,” as he said, “no choice but to be a hackney-writer or a hackney-coachman,” he chose the former and set up as playwright. In all, he wrote some 25 plays. Although his dramatic works have not held the stage, their wit cannot be denied. He was essentially a satirist; for instance, The Author’s Farce (1730) displays the absurdities of writers and publishers, while Rape upon Rape (1730) satirizes the injustices of the law and lawyers. His target was often the political corruption of the times.
In 1737 he produced at the Little Theatre in the Hay (later the Haymarket Theatre), London, his Historical Register. In 1743 Fielding published three volumes of Miscellanies, works old and new, of which by far the most important is The Life of Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great. Here, narrating the life of a notorious criminal of the day, Fielding satirizes human greatness, or rather human greatness confused with power over others.
Permanently topical, Jonathan Wild, with the exception of some passages by his older contemporary, the Anglo-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift, is perhaps the grimmest satire in English and an exercise in unremitting irony.
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling was published on Feb. 28, 1749. With its great comic gusto, vast gallery of characters, and contrasted scenes of high and low life in London and the provinces, it has always constituted the most popular of his works. Like its predecessor, Joseph Andrews, it is constructed around a romance plot. The hero, whose true identity remains unknown until the denouement, loves the beautiful Sophia Western, and at the end of the book he wins her hand. Numerous obstacles have to be overcome before he achieves this, however, and in the course of he action the various sets of characters pursue each other from one part of the country to another, giving Fielding an opportunity to paint an incomparably vivid picture of England in the mid-18th century. 11th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (pub. 1911) http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/206345/Henry-Fielding 19. 05. 2013 Plot: ……. On an inherited estate in Somersetshire in southwestern England, Squire Allworthy lives comfortably in a magnificent Gothic mansion with his spinster sister Bridget.
Allworthy had been married to a beautiful woman who bore him three children, all of whom died in infancy. Their mother then followed them to the grave. The squire does not intend to remarry. If Bridget marries and bears a child, it would become the squire’s heir. She has time, for she is still in her thirties. ……. One evening, upon his return from a three-month business trip in London, the squire discovers an infant soundly sleeping in his bed and summons his housekeeper, Mrs. Deborah Wilkins, to care for it until the squire gets a nurse for the child.
Mrs. Wilkins speculates that the child was born of a neighborhood “hussy” who ought to be punished severely. ……. “Faugh! how it stinks! ” she says. “It doth not smell like a Christian. ” ……. She recommends that the squire place it in a basket and take it to the local church. But he has already grown fond of the little chap. ……. At breakfast the next day, Allworthy informs his sister of the find. She exhibits compassion for the child but not for the mother, whom she refers to as an “audacious harlet,” “wicked jade,” and “vile strumpet. After concluding that none of their virtuous servant girls could be impugned in the matter, the Allworthys charge Mrs. Wilkins with learning the identity of the mother. The housekeeper secures the help of a friend, an elderly matron who knows her way around the neighborhood. ……. It is not long before they fix their suspicion on a young girl named Jenny Jones, the servant of a schoolmaster, Mr. Partridge. She is unlike other girls her age in that, surrounded by the schoolmaster’s books, she has educated herself and even learned Latin from her master.
The suspicions of the two women intensify when they recall that Jenny had spent time in the Allworthy home tending Miss Bridget during an illness. ……. When Mrs. Wilkins summons her, she confesses her guilt. Squire Allworthy, a magistrate, tells the girl that the law empowers him to punish her. However, he merely upbraids her for her immoral conduct, then informs her that he will rear the child in his home and provide for it in a way that she cannot. When he asks her to identify the father, she says honor and “religious vows” prevent her from doing so.
Allworthy sends her to Little Baddington, a town a day’s journey away, to protect her from wagging tongues. Neighbors then aim their gossip at Allworthy, suggesting that he fathered the child. He is, of course, innocent of the charge. Fielding, H / “Introduction”, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling / New York: Modern Library, p. viii. – 1950 Themes Love: Tom Jones’s love for Sophia, thwarted at first by his own behavior and the actions of others, continues to burn within him after Squire Allworthy banishes him.
After Tom determines to win her back, his love for her becomes the primary motive in everything he does, even when he becomes the plaything of Lady Bellaston. Hypocrisy: Examples: Blifil pretends to be honest, loyal, and fair-minded but is a hateful schemer behind the backs of others. Thwackum and Square pretend to be morally upright. But Thwackum abuses Tom; Square visits the morally loose teenager Molly Seagrim. Deceit: Examples: Bridget, the mother of Tom, hires Jenny Jones to pretend to be his mother. Blifil learns after the death of his mother that she was also the mother of Tom Jones.
But he pretends to know nothing of the matter while continuing demean his half-brother. Compiled by Michael J. Cummings. © 2010 http://www. cummingsstudyguides. net/Guides5/Jones. html – 9. 05. 2013 List of Characters Tom Jones (a bastard and ward of Mr Allworthy) Mr Allworthy (a wealthy squire with an estate in Somersetshire) Ms Bridget Allworthy/Mrs Blifil (Mr Allworthy’s sister who also ends up being the mother of Tom Jones) Master Blifil (Captain and Mrs Blifil’s son) Mr Partridge (a teacher) Jenny Jones (the Partridge’s servant)
Black George Seagrim (a gamekeeper) Molly Seagrim (Black George’s second daughter) Mr. Square (a philosopher) Squire Western (a hunting man) Sophia Western (the Squire’s only daughter) Mrs Honour (Sophia’s maid) Mrs Harriet Fitzpatrick (ward of Mrs Western and wife of Fitzpatrick, an Irishman) Mrs. Western (the Squire’s unmarried sister). Mr Dowling (an attorney) Lady Bellaston (Tom’s lover and a leading figure in London society) Vols. I & II. Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction / Fielding, Henry. The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. / New York: P.
F. Collier & Son, 1917; Character Tom Jones, Fielding’s imperfect and “mortal” hero, is the character through whom Fielding gives voice to his philosophy of Virtue. In contrast to the moral philosophizing of many of Fielding’s contemporaries, Fielding does not suggest that Tom’s affairs with Molly Seagrim, Mrs. Waters, and Lady Bellaston should reflect badly on his character. Rather, keeping with the Romantic genre, Fielding seems to admire Tom’s adherence to the principles of Gallantry, which require that a man return the interest of a woman.
Interestingly, all of Tom’s love affairs, including his relationship with Sophia, his true love, are initiated by the woman in question, which is Fielding’s way of excusing Tom from the charge of lustful depravity. Moreover, the fact that Tom’s lovers include a feisty, unfeminine wench and two middle-aged women suggest that his motives are various. Tom also treats women with the utmost respect, obliging their desire to be courted by pretending to be the seducer even when they are seducing him.
Tom refuses to abandon Molly for Sophia and is plagued by his obligations to Lady Bellaston. Nonetheless, Tom’s refusal of the tempting marriage proposal of Arabella Hunt—whose last name underscores the fact that Tom is hunted more often than he is the hunter—indicates that he has mended his wild ways and is ready to become Sophia’s husband. Tom’s gallantry reveals itself in his relationships with men as well as women, however. This spirit is evident in Tom’s insistence on paying the drinking bill for the army men at Bristol, and in his gallant defense of himself in the duel.
I am convinced, my child, that you have much goodness, generosity and honour in your temper; if you will add prudence and religion to these, you must be happy: for the three former qualities, I admit, make you worthy of happiness, but they are the latter only which will put you in possession of it. Allworthy, Page 228O Blifil: Bifil is the complete opposite of Jones’s character. By no means does Blifil think of someone else’s welfare. He is always thinking what can he gain from a situation. He is obsessed with the future; all of his actions are based on eventually getting the most amount of Allworthy’s estate.
By the end of the novel Blifil unlike Jones did not learn anything to the contrary all he did was corrupt his values to an even futher extent. Squire Allworthy: Allworthy is supposed to be correct all the time hence his last name but his actions as the novel progresses questions his decision making process and his better judgment of what is right and what is wrong. He makes his conclusions on Jones’s actions not by reasoning and analyzing the situation at hand but instead makes his decisions following what he understands what is right and wrong. Allworthy at the end of the novel dmits that his decisions to reason the way he did and judge Jones the way he did were wrong. Sophia: Sophia is the essence of womanhood in the novel. She is very honest and obedient in the novel but she also has a sense of independence towards her father’s wishes. After she and Tom are lovers and Tom is extradited from the town Sophia is willing to go against her father’s order to stay and marry Blifil and she leaves the town to go and find Jones. Although Sophia is very honest and loving she does not think like Jones. She is not dedicated like Jones. She puts her personal interest before the welfare of others.
Squire Western: Western like Tom is a very energetic and lively character. He does not analyze things too much just simply does what he feels like doing. It seems as if Western enjoys every moment because of his friendly and jovial attitude. Western though is also a very closed and stubborn man, once he believes in one idea there is no one who can change his mind. We have got the dog fox, I warrant the bitch is not far off. Squire Western, Page 491 The hunting metaphor reveals the extent to which Squire Western is preoccupied with his country pursuits.
Though his quest to find his daughter is ostensibly his top priority – he claims she is the love of his life, and his greed is likewise undisguised – this phrase shows that it is almost like a pastime to him, a way to fill the hours. Much like he does with hunting, he thinks of it as a game, which robs it of its emotional weight. This idea reveals not only the hypocrisy of the upper class, but also the way they cling to certain rituals even when those rituals contradict their professed sentiments. Thwankum and Square: Both these characters teach and live in Allworthy’s estate for the economic advantages.
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